In the long history of animation, artists and writers have been slipping in a little humor for the adults even if the film is meant to be family-friendly. It gives a little something for the parents to laugh about while their children are bouncing along with the colorful landscapes and goofy characters. Films that notoriously slipped in a few extra moments that even the adults thought were over the line include:
- The Little Mermaid: The minister is a little too excited while Ursula and Prince Eric are getting married.
- The Rescuers: While the mice fly through town on the back of Orville, there are a few frames of a naked woman in the window.
- The Lion King: When Simba lays down on a cliff edge, the dust forms the word S-E-X in the sky.
Though those moments are too on the nose with their adult references, audiences have laughed along with many other children’s movies for their use of tongue-in-cheek jokes that will go unnoticed by any of the kids.
Here are some of the best adult jokes that have been slipped into family-friendly movies.
1. In the 2015 Pixar movie Inside Out, three of the emotions are talking about the possibility of bears in San Francisco when Anger (Lewis Black) states that he once saw a “really hairy guy” who looked like a bear. This is a little reference to San Francisco’s gay population, in which “Bear” is an oft-used descriptor.
2. The third movie in the Aladdin series saw the return of Robin Williams as the Genie, and he makes a little remark during the royal wedding. When they start to experience an earthquake, Genie quips “I thought the Earth wasn’t supposed to move ‘till the honeymoon.”
3. Apparently there is an NC-17 version of Mrs. Doubtfire out there that is filled with the improvisations of Robin Williams, but the final movie had a more family-friendly tone. That is, except for one string of euphemisms towards Pierce Brosnan’s character at the restaurant that includes “sink the soap” and “the horizontal mambo.”
4. The old Scooby Doo cartoon never did confirm why Shaggy would always have the munchies, but we always had our ideas. The writers of the live action/computer generated hybrid slipped in a little wink when they named the woman next to him on the plane next to him Mary Jane. Like, that’s my favorite name!
5. The Road to El Dorado had some very suggestive moments, especially surrounding the character of Chel. There is one though as the camera pans down to Chel and Tulio making out, that is a bit suggestive of something different. Chel doesn’t seem to come up from his mouth, and she swings her leg over his body as she gets up. Kids won’t notice, but the parents sure did.
6. Muppet Treasure Island is a film an entire generation remembers loving as kids, but there is one joke that may have gone over our heads. When Miss Piggie greets Long John Silver, an old “acquaintance,” she lingers a little bit on the first couple of words. Kermit confirms the joke by exclaiming “him too?!”
7. The Brave Little Toaster was about as vanilla as animated movies came, or so the kids thought. When the computer is being searched for information, the smooth jazz in the background reveals exactly what the writers meant when it said “my memory banks are being stroked…and by an expert!”
8. In the Looney Tunes animation classic Space Jam, former NBA stars can’t figure out how they lost their talent. When Patrick Ewing checks in with a psychologist, he asks him if there are any other areas that he’s lost performance in. The believable look of shock on his face means he’s definitely not talking about his acting ability.
9. Shrek was basically filled to the brim with adult jokes wrapped in a kid-friendly package. There’s one about the castle Lord Farquaad (whose name is one of those jokes in itself) lives in that particularly stands out. When Shrek says he might be compensating for something, there’s not really any other way to take it.
10. In the live-action remake of 101 Dalmations, Cruella turns to Roger and insinuates something that would go right over kids head, but even struck adults as a little over the edge. Her line “Puppies? You have been a busy boy” doesn’t really seem suitable for any audience.
11. When Marty the zebra runs away from his friend Alex the lion in Madagascar, he yells something that kids will hear as just a silly string of frightened words. Parents on the other hand may realize that “Sugar-Honey-Iced-Tea” stands for something a little different.
12. The Rugrats Movie follows a group of toddlers around, so naturally it deals with mostly childish topics. But during one scene at a hospital, a newborn complains about losing her umbilical cord, before her neighbor looks in his diaper and notices that they took a little of something much different.
13. In Toy Story 2, we’re introduced to the rest of the Western gang, and when Buzz sees Jessie for the first time he reacts how you’d expect any warm-blooded space ranger to. While kids might just see his gaping mouth and deployed wings as shock, parents know it’s something a little different.
14. When the three witches in Hocus Pocus tell a bus driver that they desire children, the creepy factor is turned up a bit. He responds in a way that children wouldn’t understand, but the adults sure do.
15. We should have known that there would be some adult content when they cast Megan Fox in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. In one scene, you can hear one of the turtles whisper “She’s so hot I can feel my shell tightening.” It’s a little over the edge. The turtles are teenagers, I guess.
16. There is a long-standing joke about a man’s foot size directly corresponding to the size of, well, other things on his body. That’s what Frozen is poking fun at when Anna tells Kristoff “foot size doesn’t matter” when riding in the sleigh.
17. In Cars, the animators had to use some subtle techniques to get a laugh or two out of the adults in the audience who had to buy all those shiny new toys for their kids. When Lightning McQueen is being ogled by two female fans during a press conference, both turn on their headlights at the same time before being escorted away by security. The crowd goes wild with their cheers, but the kids just think it’s a funny prank.
18. In The Emperor’s New Groove, Kronk (played perfectly by Patrick Warburton) is forced to sleep outside. While the size of his tent is the first part of the joke that kids get, where he pitched it is the part the adults might enjoy.
19. Toy Story 3 doesn’t change the recipe. When Lotso grabs Mrs. Potato Head’s mouth to stop her from talking, her husband chimes in with a joke the kids and adults will both laugh at for different reasons. Mr. Potato Head chimes in, outraged, saying: “Hey, nobody takes my wife’s mouth except me!”
20. The Disney re-telling of Hercules has quite a few adult references, and who would expect any different from a movie starring James Woods, Danny DeVito and Bobcat Goldthwait. When Herc defeats the Centaur, a certain shape protrudes from his head that adults may find a bit, pointed.